Lafarge prepares cement works plans.

A planning application to revamp a disused cement works on the shores of Larne Lough, one of the biggest brownfield projects in Northern Ireland, is set to be submitted.

Last week site owner Lafarge Cement UK announced that it intends to submit proposals to the Northern Ireland Planning Service after carrying out public consultation on its options.

It has proposed a number of different uses for the 15.5ha site at Magheramorne, where a quarry with two freshwater lakes occupies almost half of the plot and 120m-high cliff faces tower over the surrounding area.

Plans for the revamp include a harbour development, a heritage railway, a cycling and diving centre, a birdwatching facility, a film studio and an ecology park. They also feature a 450-home village designed with WWF-UK to establish Ireland's first "one planet" living community.

Lafarge, for whom David Lock Associates are acting as lead consultant on the project, argues that most of the uses in the scheme would be acceptable in planning terms with the possible exception of the housing.

However, it contends that the homes are necessary to cross-subsidise the development and maintain "vibrancy and surveillance" for the scheme.

Project manager Lloyd McInally said: "This is a golden opportunity to help regenerate the Larne area by creating what will be one of the top tourist attractions in Northern Ireland."

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